I am pleased to say that I have learned something since the first time I went blacksmithing. Namely, I have learned to pick a train that doesn’t involve five changes when toting a massive suitcase, and I have learned to pick a hotel within a few hundred yards’ stagger of the forge. So in contrast to the horrible, fraught journey I had last time, I sat on a reserved seat with a wee bottle of rose, admiring the scenery and debating getting the sums out (which I didn’t in the end, see, no stick-to-it-itis, that’s my problem). But by that point we were going past Berwick and Newcastle and the sun had come out and the scenery was just stunning. The wind was making waves out of the green barley on the cliff-tops, there were much huger, fiercer brighter waves on the beaches, and the colours in everything were so vivid I coulda eaten them.
Also, all cities look far more picturesque from the train; you could line up half a dozen beautiful landmarks in Durham alone, press a button and call it a masterpiece – sadly, I reckon you could only do it from the train, and if I got off and ran about with all my stuff, I’d discover I’d have to drag it up onto someone’s chimney or something. And I can’t see that going over at all well.
Hee, I ended up next to Peter Hitchins on the next train (he had an email printed out in his hand and I glanced at it as we went over a bump. Dammit, I could so be a spy, if only speed-reading were the only thing required of spies! Sadly I hear there is stuff like, Confidence also.) I have just googled who he is, because I couldn’t place the name, and I am now rather glad we did not have a conversation, well, at least a long one where it turned out we have pathologically opposed views. A shame, he seemed very plummy but very polite.
And so, a sunny walk through the village later, and I was all settled in at the hotel. Right, sums! Well, no – right, three-course dinner, followed by a bath (a bath! I never have a bath at home in case it gets in people’s way! Which is funny for a couple of reasons – a) I just had the bath-tub redone at vast expense so that the shower wouldn’t punt water all over the floor, where it would disappear to annoy Downstairs, and b) my lodger has a bath every single day, and since he will not use a bathmat, punts water all over the other end of the bathroom, where guess what happens. So that was money well-spent, not!)
And then I had some wine and an early night, and thank god, unlike recently, I slept like the dead. Despite my nerves and everything. Oh come on, I told myself, there is no need for nerves, for you have done this before, and under more trying circumstances, and you know what to expect and granted you haven’t practiced at all in case the noise annoyed your lodger (oh he has no idea of the sacrifices I make, also, this is Funny because he got annoyed anyway) but hey, could it be any worse than last time?
For I have been looking forward to this all year and hoping I can make it and being dead excited… and as the time to actually Do It has come closer, I have remembered more about how much I kinda wasn’t very good, and at the end of the first day it was all I could do not to call the Bossman and wreck our fledgling relationship by snivelling, I’ve made a TERRIBLE MISTAAAAAKE, down the phone at him, and the only helpful thing the gigantic and kindly Forge Elf could think to say to me on the Sunday was, Chin up, you’re doing good because… well… you came back. (Pointedly absent from comment: Despite being mince).
Corks. Perhaps, part of my problem is Not Learning When To Quit.